We’ve seen worlds collide in the realm of Mario Kart many times before, as each nation volunteer the very best of their talents to compete. This time, however, as the greatest players turn up to prove their ability once more, they will not being doing so for their nation – this time, it is from the teams they play with. This domestic form of play favors familiarity, trust, and communication, all vital parts of successful tournament play.
Five teams from the western world have been elected to participate: World Friend Star, Requiem, Arcadia Sky, xi, and High Definition. These are teams that are known well to MKCentral visitors, as teams that have produced exceptional play time and time again, and now have a chance to put all they have learned to the test against each other, as well as some of the crème of the crop that Japan has to offer too. Yet, despite Japan’s repeated success in world tournaments, the teams within the Japanese Mario Kart community are still somewhat undocumented and unknown to the rest of the world.
Today, we’re going to introduce you to the 11 Japanese teams that have fought valiantly across a wide spectrum of tournament and individual play, and earned their right to compete on the world stage.
In alphabetical order:
Akichi Pro (Ap)
Apparently, when translated, the word Akichi means a plot of unused land. There’s definitely some insightful meaning that could have, as a team that has the potential to turn the land it gains into a result worth remembering. Though Akichi Pro has been playing together for a decent string of time and have experienced play against teams of all calibers, they have generally not played in many of MKBlog’s team tournaments. Despite that, they saw some fertile ground in their JTL 4 team tournament run. Their first two rounds were never in threat, but a very fretful opponent in Marf turned up for them in the third round. Regardless, they sprouted some fruitful initial growth, and that blossomed with a superb race 7 Ribbon Road, in which a stupendous lap 2 shock simultaneously saved their tops after glider, targetshocked some Marf members, and still permitted a dodge for a top 4, 7, 9. The final result was an utter stomp of +154. The Giant Killing aptly put a top to Ap’s giant score the next round, but only by a margin of 18. You can generally expect Ap to start a match with the classic Wario Stadium, or Animal Crossing dependent on spots. Onim, the team’s leader and Mario Kart Worlds organizer, is very familiar with play in both domestic and western scenes, having played for Banana Legion on several occasions, and this knowledge could give them a distinct edge against overseas opponents. They also have Gasly, a very potent points scorer for them, and Sebas, who holds a strong claim as the best South American player on offer at the moment in time.
For our Victory (FV)
Nearly 12 years ago, a Mario Kart Wii team with the same tag, Foro Vandal, were achieving their own victories in the first division of the World Clan League. Could this be destiny for this ambitious troupe on the world stage? Catch a glimpse of FV in action, and you’ll notice the elephant in the room – they are all inward bikers. This could prove to be a valuable asset, as squads used to a very standard set of character(s) (waaaa), vehicles and courses must now shift their strategy on the fly. Indeed, a scan of some of FV’s recent scrimmages exposes some unorthodox starter tracks, such as Water Park, nitro Mario Circuit and Wild Woods. FV are another team that sees deep team tournament runs, with quarter-final runs in the most recent JTL and the first, second and fifth MKBlog tournaments, and a semi-final advancement in the 2nd JTL. In the fifth MKBlog tournament, they nearly missed quarters, on a nail-biter Race 11 Twisted Mansion, only up by 8 points. So how did they convert that into a 28-point lead into last race? They were simply getting more offensive hits in than their opponent, as FV successfully predicted their opposition’s intended lines and stopping them by running into them with bananas or with forward snipes. In terms of players, anticipate some brutal plays from the likes of shooter, purin, boo, and familiar names Romsu and Rhys, the latter of which has been storming through lounge as of late.
Gamma (γ) (Contributed by Dylan 718)
Up next we have γ, whose roster is common knowledge in the West. γ’s leader, avalon, is tied with Monar for having the most wins across all of Mario Kart Blog’s tournaments. KF25 has been on Team Japan since 2018. Daichi, chappi, Kay and Milotic are among the very few players who have managed to have achieved Master in lounge. γ made their debut in the fourth Mario Kart Blog cup way back in February of this year. γ fought their way straight to the semifinals, having defeated RiZE along the way. Although they were defeated by the Giant Killing with only a -10 loss, the prowess of the team was vividly displayed. Their next journey during the fifth Mario Kart Blog Cup demonstrated their superb capabilities as they came face-to-face against NvK for the fifth round. For the final race, γ chose Moo Moo Meadows as a niche track pick, deciding to run the track instead of going for a strong game-changing item when NvK had a majority of the top 6 spots going into the race. γ was surprisingly able to gain top 6 within one lap around the meadows and preserved it with quick thinking from avalon slowing down in order to back a bomb at NvK which allowed γ more time to break away. Not even a late-game blue shell was able to end their top 6, having been swiftly destroyed from Kay’s horn that he managed to pull and preserve in lap 2. Their matches are usually filled to the brim with Piranha Plant Slide, Dolphin Shoals, Tick-Tock Clock and especially Moo Moo Meadows so expect these tracks to be a recurring element during γ’s Mario Kart Worlds expedition.
Giant Killing (GK)
Many of us know the story of David and Goliath, which teaches us that sometimes the small and humble can overcome the gargantuan beasts that hinder their progress. However, with a team with as many accolades and achievements as Giant Killing, are they ironically becoming the goliath they are attempting to slay? GK, known for its members naming themselves variations of the word ‘Killing’ with the first letter changed, have been representing in some form even back in vanilla Mario Kart 8, and it seems they have taken to Deluxe just as effectively, reaching MKBlog team tournament finals three times and getting the gold in two. The behemoth they found themselves having to slay in the 4th MKBlog tourney was NX, and it was a wildly neck-and-neck tussle. GK found themselves up by a heavily unnerving +6 going into final race, and opted to go to Royal Raceway. It was as chaotic as one would expect, with each team dealing massive blows in a desperate attempt to cling onto top spots. So what was the deciding factor? GK backed two NX members before the finish line, for a -4 race and +2 squeak-by dub. This should indicate that GK is a team that can clutch when backs are against the wall. So who will be putting giants to sleep in the tournament? Well, Purple is certainly a fine specimen, at least in terms of being able to rack up absurd points totals, as expected of a Team Japan member. duel is another superb candidate, a very versatile player, who has recently been TTing tracks without mushrooms in preparation for the tournament, adaptive play that could be rewarded. And then there’s Train, who’s become rather viral as a Japanese YouTuber, with neatly edited Mario Kart content aided with a vibrant personality, which could certainly hold GK together when pushed to their limits in this competition.
Kaiser is no doubt a team that will be seeking dominion in this tournament, especially if they are able to advance past the bracket stages. Whilst Kaiser is still a relatively young team of around half a year, they’ve already made some huge waves in the Japanese scene, having had no fear of scrimmaging other high flyers right from the word go. They have only participated in the most recent MKBlog tournament, but it cannot be understated how epic their journey was. Four straight rounds of +100 victories, only to be placed into a duel with For our Victory. A very smart Neo Bowser City pick (and a track Kaiser seem fond of on a wider scale) on race 10 from χer stumped FV’s inward bikers from gaining any sort of momentum, and through a mix of a front breakaway and gradual formation in mid-pack, χer decreed a top 5 to claim their namesake. Their semi-final ceremony was a pit against the Giant Killing. So what happened this time? Race 3 Tick-Tock Clock happened. GK simply had no answer as χer systematically gunned down GK’s frontal presence and reigned with another top 5, a significant points lead that Kaiser held onto. Sadly, the final ended the monarchy. While Kaiser achieved this magnificent feat with Roks and Daxx, who are not playing for them in Worlds, they still have several weapons. Yuru was a highly valuable points contributor for their tournament run, never scoring below 90 points across all matches. Meanwhile, Nazu teamed up with Daxx in the recent 2v2 MKCentral tournament and achieved bronze, and is no stranger to Tier S play in lounge.
One thing is for sure, their tag is certainly fun to say out loud. Marf made their debut in the third Mario Kart Blog team tournament back in August 2019, and made a pretty solid dent on their first try by making the third round. Their next outing in MKBlog Cup 4 was even more impressive, this time breaking the target and beyond with five successful rounds, only to be knocked out by the Giant Killing. Participation in these tournaments and regular scrimmages were the key to set up Marf in a superb position when MKBlog Cup 5 rolled around. They utterly steamrolled the same five rounds, their closest loss still being a 118 point buster against D-6’. Their grab range would not suffice in the quarter-final once again, this time to NX, but just making that quarter-final was enough to earn their wild card spot at Worlds. To assume that their wild card status places Marf at a disadvantage is a marvelous mistake – they have had little issue keeping pace with Kaiser and the aforementioned Giant Killing in recent scrimmages. There are a couple of trends to look out for in Marf’s matches: They appear to begin a match with Piranha Plant Slide, DK Jungle or Ribbon Road dependent on positions. The name Chlorine may be familiar to some veteran players, having held world record time trials on Mario Kart Stadium and GBA Mario Circuit earlier this year, so expect these as pocket picks.
New virtue Know (NvK)
With a name that could certainly pass as a kick-ass rock band, New virtue Know aptly have been picking up and maintaining clinical playing ability, and have fostered a neat core of close pals in the process. They have turned up to a variety of JTL and MKBlog team tournaments, and bizarrely enough are very consistent across the board, almost always making round-of-16 or quarter finals. Clearly, this is something NvK has spotted, because they have been relentlessly scrimmaging other Worlds participants in the lead-up to game time. Now, let’s talk about K4I, because he is rather a star at this moment in time. Whilst he was already performing admirably in lounge before, season 3 has seen him playing out of his mind, and that has been handsomely rewarded as the first player to reach Grandmaster status – though has also proven how utterly difficult it is to maintain such a title, toppling back down to Master soon after. Recently, he also produced a new world record time on Sunshine Airport, so look to witness some pristine lines if he secures a top spot for his team. Then there’s the yin and yang duo of Yuyuyu and Nonono. They positively and negatively nulled others in a 2v2 MKCentral tournament back in 2018, and have no doubt only honed their joint chemistry since. And then there’s captain Futsukin at the helm, with a marked fondness of nitro Rainbow Road, for which he held world record shortly after the game’s release. K4I also has a top 10 time here, so anticipate a technicolor tussle in space also.
Attempting to sum up what this team has accomplished in its lifespan feels borderline futile, but we will try our best. Let’s start with this team as a unit. Of the 7 MKBlog team tournaments listed on the website, NX have made the final round in all but one of them (the other still reaching semi-finals), and have taken home the crown in 4 of those 6 showings. Clearly, NX is a team that has legions of game knowledge and knowledge of their own members to consistently produce tournament wins, but let’s look at a specific example, their most recent team tournament final against Kaiser. NX is inputting chip damage into χer each race, but their rival is preventing them from making any real promising breakaway to claim the tournament… Until Race 8 Twisted Mansion. NX successfully block all χer members from taking lap 1 cut, and this gives their single shrooming mate a very rapid breakaway, joined by another NX member by the end of lap 1. They successfully chain for a horn, permitting their blue holder to advance up for the duration of lap 2, now branching into a top 4. By the time χer realizes and attempts to bag for shock lap 3, it is too late, and NX earn a superb +28 safety that sees them through to another trophy for the cabinet. As for their members? Well, Monar is a little bit ridiculously good. A finalist in 19 separate MKBlog tournaments and the gold winner in 12 of them, and the current highest ranked player in lounge as of this post, one of only two participants to reach Grandmaster level. As for the 2nd highest lounge player right now? That’s Kusaan, a name Twitter users will no doubt be familiar with, as clips of his absurd plays or karting experiments regularly go viral within the community. This is not even mentioning support from prized players such as Ton, Peze, Moa and Sawasawa. A lot of eyes will be on this prestigious squad – Will their domestic success transfer to the world stage?
RiZE Love Kiss (RiZE)
RiZE up, gamers! This affectionate selection pride themselves on time and in time, with the sheer amount of time trial world records some of their individuals have set. There’s Wami, the former fastest three-lap setter on Sweet Sweet Canyon, Electrodome and Twisted Mansion, and Lation, the king of sand and ice with Dry Dry Desert and Sherbet Land. This neat mix of courses means RiZE may have flexibility on the courses they can build momentum into quickly. We most also not forget about Toa, a key participant for Japan’s A team against the world last year. Whilst RiZE’s team tournament performances have been a little hit-and-miss at times, they no doubt look fondly on a dazzling run through the fourth JTL tournament to the semi-finals. At the door for quarters was the Giant Killing, but no giant could elevate to the level RiZE set in their bout. In their rendition of Ribbon Road on race 10, RiZE simply stocked up shrooms in mid-pack for lap 1, chained them into reds to eradicate GK members up-pack on lap 2, and then simply rotated between their offensive and catch-up items to maintain a Top 4 and 9, 10.
A majority of squads in the tournament contain a roster of at least 9 players, permitting for fluidity and adaptability in player, and therefore playstyle alterations. Not so for SrX, who will be entering the competition with a 7-man squad, but this comes with the benefit of the same tried and tested players turning up every time and padding to each other’s strengths. SrX qualified from a wild card position in MKBlog’s fifth tournament, which was also their debut. The match that got them there was a fight with PK, in which they consistently made small gains each race that gradually weakened PK’s chances of producing a return. One such race was a race 3 Ice Ice Outpost, which was looking dire after some botched lap 1 play. But SrX regrouped and successfully fished for a shock, activated on lap 3 to deny 3 PK members items, dodge one of their own, and chained for a blue to ruin PK’s first place breakaway for a +14 race. Leading the charge on this half-dozen plus one will no doubt be ur and miffy, who are both currently on the cusp of breaking into the top 10 players in lounge as of writing this post, and miffy was also a part of the winning trio for MKCentral’s Haloween tournament. As the team’s leader, we can also expect Roto to be forming some of the key strategies to implement.
Let’s get right to the point with Victory6: In MKBlog Team Tournament 5, they were truly the lion that is represented in their emblem, ruling with an iron fist over their kingdom. Over 100 point victories across the board in every round until the semi-finals, where it took domestic leaders NX to finally put an end to their slaughter. Even in the quarter-finals, SrX were left stunned when VI launched right into Mount Wario on the first race. VI broke into a group run early with superior lines on Section 1, expertly split up at the snow section before the trees to completely avoid all of SrX’s offense, and that left SrX with absolutely no resources to respond to the two VI members in mid-pack, culminating in a top 4, 6, 7 and setting the tone for the remainder of the war. Rin was absolutely unstoppable the entire duration of the tournament, his lowest score still just shy of a century at 99. Apple and AK are also A-class players, more than capable of roaming the jungle that is the global competition.
Now that you’ve been acquainted with Japan’s finest squadrons, make sure to tune in to https://www.twitch.tv/mariokartcentral this weekend as we catch them as well as our western battalions duke it out to be crowned champions of the world! The first matches commence at 7AM EST/1PM CET today, and quarterfinals commence at 8AM EST/2PM CET tomorrow, with semifinals and finals played next weekend.